Forcing a young teenager to go with you somewhere against their will is usually illegal. I would consider my actions tonight, too, to be illegal. However, they were necessary, and very annoying.
But, with Amy in my custody, or a citizen’s arrest as I will refer to it to make myself look better, I’ve gone back to the abandoned church and plopped our young rascal into literal handcuffs on one of the pews.
She’s incredibly frustrated right now. “It was Street Rat’s plan. I just did what I was told.”
“Even though you knew it was bad and wrong?” I ask.
“Bad and wrong? What are you talking about? That fight was awesome!”
“You didn’t even participate! It was just me! Just me…”
R8PR motions me aside so he can use his cybernetically enhanced interrogation techniques against her.
“Amy Hawthorne,” he begins. “You made a mistake messing with Sage. Whatever your Street Rat friend is planning, you need to fess up now. We’ll find out either way, and it won’t be pretty if we have to find out the hard way.”
“I know how to resist torture!” she shouts. “I’ve trained for this!”
“But you didn’t train to be betrayed by your own gang, did you? You didn’t even know the other Holos weren’t going to be there until it was just you and Morgan fighting for your lives.”
“No, it was just me…” I mumble.
“And, I bet you didn’t know,” R8PR adds, “that the data drive you gave me was a fake. No information on the Social Media Killer. Just useless junk files.”
“It was… fake?” Amy asked. “But Street Rat told me she got it from Dr. Gonzales himself. Street Rat doesn’t lie to people.”
Dr. Gonzales, the Data Broker… That man’s name appears more and more these days. Whoever he is, he’s involved a lot more in all of this Ascendants stuff than we currently know. If what Amy is saying is true… Oh wait, it probably isn’t.
“Face it, Amy,” he says. “The Holos used you. You were conned. Double crossed. Betrayed. You were bait.”
“I wasn’t bait though. Morgan was the bait,” she says. Then she realizes what she said and groans at herself.
“Tell us more,” R8PR says.
“Uh… Well… Oh, fine. Just get me out of these handcuffs.”
“What?” I laugh. “No w–”
R8PR unlocks the cuffs and lets her get up from the pew. “Alright, tell us what you know, please, Amy.”
She sticks her tongue out at me, then says, “Street Rat told me to go track Morgan and find Sage, because we wanted to start something by luring y’all into a trap.”
“Wait, specifically me? I’m almost honored,” I say.
“Yeah, but only because you’re getting way too famous,” Amy says. “Street Rat is a big fan, but she thinks you’re gonna get yourself killed soon because you keep getting in all these big fights.”
“It’s not MY fault…”
“So,” she continues, “the plan was to bring Morgan out to a remote location, then have the Earth Group attack and then create a big kidnapping situation. It would force Sage to act more openly to do a rescue, then he couldn’t stop us from doing our plan to sabotage the tech expo.”
“I was gonna get kidnapped…”
“You’re going to sabotage the tech expo?” R8PR asks. “In what way? Why?”
“I don’t know,” Amy says. “To mess stuff up. Cause some chaos. Make a lot of powerful people really angry. The fun stuff. We wanted to rile the Earth Group up enough into attacking, and then everyone would go into panic mode because of that John Vann guy. I don’t know much more than that.”
“But you didn’t know that you were going to be a major part of that attempted, um, ‘kidnapping’?” I put air quotes around “kidnapping” on account of the fact that that was clearly going to end up a murder if we didn’t get out of there.
Amy looks a lot less energetic than usual. I think the possibility that she’s been double-crossed has legitimately entered her mind by now. Is she going to be okay? I mean, I just met her less than twelve hours ago, but despite being one of the most obnoxious people I’ve ever met, she’s just a kid. A kid with a hard life. And I don’t want to see her upset if I can’t help it.
“Help us stop the Holos from sabotaging the expo,” R8PR says. “You might be our only chance at stopping something really bad from happening.”
“No way, I can’t,” she says. “They’re my family. I may not know why we’re doing it, but if Street Rat says to do it, then it’s got to be done. I’m really sorry for all the lying and deception, but I refuse to help you. I’m going to go back and be a Holo after all this, just the same as ever.”
“Well, I thought I’d ask, at least,” he says.
“I appreciate the thought.”
“I appreciate your opinion, too, though you ARE going to help us stop the sabotage.”
“No, no thank you. Really.”
“Yes, thank you very much for helping. You see…” R8PR activates his eye-projector and casts it against the nearest wall. Up on the screen is a GPS map of Atlanta with two messy lines. Lines in the exact route we took to and from the fake negotiation spot. “You’re in our debt now.”
“What’s… this?” she asks.
“That tea I gave you had some special microbots in it. I designed them after some I found in cans of Magitek Soda that my underlings found for me a few weeks ago. They’re inside you now, and that means I can track you for… Oh, about five more days. So going back to any Holo location might be a bit tricky, seeing as I’m a hyper-advanced robot whose data analysis abilities are unparalleled among any other being on this planet.”
“I do hope the tea was good, though.”
Amy sighs. “Ah, screw it. Okay, I’ll help you two. Just don’t let them know I did it.”
“Deal,” he says. “Morgan, you and Amy are going to have a lot of fun tomorrow at the convention.”
“I get to go again? Yippee,” I say with no emotion whatsoever.
“Yep, so get some rest and get your sleuthing hats on in the morning,” R8PR says. “With me as your spirit guide, you two are going to do a lot of good.”